‘Three Ships’ is a Gitana 43 cutter-rigged sloop built by Two Oceans Marine in Cape Town South Africa in 1988 and named by her original owner after Three Ships Whiskey produced by the James Sedgewick distillery in Cape Town.
The Gitana 43 was designed by Oswald Berkemayer and many were built for the Cape Town Rio Race. Threeships was however commissioned by the owner to stronger cruising standard with a solid GRP hull and balsa cored deck. We purchased her in Florida in 1999 and in June sailed her on the non stop 4300nm voyage back to our home port of Y Felinheli on the Menai Strait in North Wales.
After carrying out a substantial refit including new engine, replacing all standing rigging and rewiring the electrics, we had her coded to Cat 1 and set up a sea school – Three Ships Yacht Charter – based at Y Felinheli. For two years we ran extended RYA Yachtmaster courses up and down the Irish sea including the west coast of Scotland. In July 2002 we left UK waters for some more extended cruising. Our first 18 months took us on an Atlantic circuit visiting Madeira, the Canary Islands, the Caribbean from Grenada to the British Virgin islands, Bermuda, the Azores and finally Portugal.
We then wintered in Spain at Almerimar before setting off in early summer 2004 to cruise the Balearics and Sardinia before returning to Gibraltar and heading south once more to the Canaries and Cape Verde islands. We arrived back in the Caribbean just after New Year 2005 and travelled back up and down the island chain before leaving Three Ships ashore in Powerboats yard Trinidad.
We re-launched in November 2005 and headed west on the first leg of our circumnavigation. We visited the Venezuelan and ABC islands and then on to the San Blas islands off the Panamanian coast where we cruised for two months. In February 2006 we transited the Panama canal and set off on the 7400nm voyage over the Pacific to New Zealand. We spent a fantastic month in the Galapagos before the 3000 mile crossing to the Marquesas, followed by the Tuamotu atolls, Tahiti, the Cook Islands, Tonga and Fiji. We arrived in New Zealand in November 2006 and completed a circumnavigation of South Island during January / February 2007.
We returned to Three Ships in Nelson in September 2007 and explored some of the mountains in south island before cruising through the Marlborough Sounds and down the east coast as far a Littleton. We then sailed back north up to Wellington and eventually to Tauronga from where we departed in May 2008 for Fiji. We spent 2 months cruising the Fijian islands and then headed west to Vanuatu, New Caledonia including the Loyalty Islands and arrived in Bundaberg Australia in early November 2008.
In January 2009 we sailed south as far as Sydney and left the boat in Pittwater while we did some travel inland. On June 21st we rounded Cape York and set off west towards Darwin calling at Gove on the way. In July we joined Sail Indonesia and on August 19th took part in an International Fleet review in honour of the President of Indonesia off Minado N Sulawesi before returning south through the Indonesian archipelago and on to Puteri marina where we checked into Malaysia.
In 2010 we sailed up the Malacca strait via Penang and by April we made our first visit to Phitak shipyard in Thailand where we initiated a fairly major internal upgrade. The skill of the local carpenters together with the availability and price of quality local teak enabled us to greatly improve the appearance of the forward heads, main saloon, galley and aft heads. This was to be completed in several stages over the next two years. By May we were on our way south again this time to pass through the Singapore strait up the east coast of the Malay peninsula and then across the south China sea to Kuching and Kota Kinabalu in Borneo and then back past Singapore, up to Phuket in Thailand and finally back to Phitak shipyard for more boat work.
2011 – 2014 we spent sailing with various friends and relatives up and down between Malaysia and Thailand. By April 2014 we decided that we had spent enough time in SE Asia and so set off on the long trip back down to Singapore, through Indonesian waters to the Sunda strait, on across the Indian Ocean to Cocos Keeling, Rodrigues, Mauritius, La Reunion and finally Richards Bay and Durban in South Africa where we arrived in late October. 2015 saw us in Cape Town from where we set off across the South Atlantic Ocean via St Helena and Ascension Island and back to Grenada where we completed our circumnavigation. The following year we sailed back to Wales via the Azores where we arrived on July 23rd and had a party to remember Chris is a Yacht Master Ocean and retired RYA Yacht Master Instructor, Fiona is also a qualified Yachtmaster.
‘Three Ships’ is well equipped for ocean voyaging and to date 27 different crewmembers have been on board for ocean passages of over 1200 miles. In the summer of 2017 we sailed north to the Faeroe Islands and completed an anti clockwise circumnavigation of Iceland. Chris and Fiona are currently Regional Rear Commodores (GB) for the Ocean Cruising Club
The current inventory of equipment includes: